, dark room
, back room
Cass Mann, an HIV-positive gay man and the founder of UKâs only gay menâs HIV/AIDS charity Positively Healthy (http://www.posh-uk.org.uk/), feels that ironically, it is often other gay men who most stigmatize gay men. They associate the gay identity with an AIDS identity, and they want to dissociate themselves from it. He experiences the deepest discrimination from people in the gay community who want nothing to do with an HIV positive person. Many HIV positive gay men don't want to go to clubs because visible side effects of antiretroviral drugs like lipodystrophy (muscle wasting), lipoatrophy (facial wasting) and the "buffalo hump" (irregular fat deposits in the body) cause them to be singled out and ridiculed. He feels that a lot of the stigmatization is due to the person's fear of the possibility that they too may become HIV positive. As a result, HIV positive gay men often don't go to lit venues; they go to dark rooms, back rooms, or parks instead. Cass is concerned that whereas heterosexuals meet anywhere and everywhere, gay men primarily meet in venues where alcohol and drugs are used, and wonders why that's the case. For more information about HIV/AIDS, visit http://www.posh-uk.org.uk/ and http://www.AIDSvideos.org/.